Over 10 million people in the US suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). This disorder causes severe jaw pain and aches and is more common if you suffer from fibromyalgia.

TMJ in fibromyalgia patients may lead to increased sensitivity to the pain. When you suffer from both conditions, you may find it incredibly difficult to make it through the day. However, there are treatment options available.

What Is Temporomandibular joint disorder?

Temporomandibular joint disorder is a disorder that tends to cause pain and tenderness in the jaw area. It affects the temporomandibular joints, which are the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull. When you open your mouth, the muscles and ligaments around these joints become painful.

Doctors do not know the exact cause of TMJ. However, they tend to agree that it is often the result of trauma to the jaw, such as an accident or injury. It may also be the result of stress, anxiety, or even rheumatoid arthritis. While the cause is unknown, doctors know that the occurrence of TMJ in fibromyalgia patients is greater compared to those who do not suffer from fibromyalgia.

What Are the Symptoms of Temporomandibular joint disorder?

The signs of TMJ are often discovered, diagnosed, and treated by dentists. When you visit your dentist for an exam, he or she may check to see if your jaw is tender or makes popping or clicking sounds when you open and close your mouth.

Besides the popping or clicking of your jawbone, you may notice some of the other symptoms of TMJ, which include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Lockjaw
  • Difficulty moving the jaw

If you experience any pain in your jaw, you should discuss it with your doctor or dentist, especially if you suffer from fibromyalgia.

How Is TMJ Linked to Fibromyalgia?

About 2{a383e613923f1ec0b660552245e3f42054e0701ee00b28ee89aef1fa59f89a3d} of the US population suffers from fibromyalgia while about 4{a383e613923f1ec0b660552245e3f42054e0701ee00b28ee89aef1fa59f89a3d} of the population suffers from TMJ. If you have one of these disorders, you are more likely to have the other. However, researchers have not found a direct link between TMJ and fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, they do have several theories.

TMJ in fibromyalgia patients may be the result of loose connective tissues, which is a condition that is often associated with fibromyalgia. It is also possible that the TMJ contributes to a condition called central sensitization. Central sensitization is a type of hypersensitivity involving the nervous system. Many doctors believe that central sensitization is a key risk factor for developing fibromyalgia. In recent years, the medical community has begun classifying TMJ, fibromyalgia, and several other disorders as central sensitivity syndromes.

How to Treat TMJ in Fibromyalgia

Treatments for TMJ in fibromyalgia sufferers do not typically interfere with the patient’s existing fibromyalgia treatments. These conditions can be addressed separately.

Some of the most common treatments include avoiding excessive movement of the jaw. This requires you to stop yawning and chewing gum. In some cases, doctors or dentists may recommend surgery.

There are also various exercises that may help improve the condition of your temporomandibular joints. However, the exact treatment can vary between patients. The best approach is to work with your doctor to explore TMJ exercises and other non-invasive treatments.

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